Melo: I would've loved to guard LeBron

NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony didn’t get an opportunity to guard LeBron James often on Saturday night, but he would’ve loved the chance to.

"[Mike Woodson] gave the assignment to J.R. [Smith] tonight. We had to help that. There’s nothing I can do about that. Would I love to play him? Yeah," Anthony said. "But he gave the assignment to J.R., and we gotta do a better job of helping J.R. in that area."

Woodson put Smith on James and had Anthony guard Shane Battier to start the game. Raymond Felton was on Mario Chalmers, and Pablo Prigioni drew the assignment of guarding Dwyane Wade.

Anthony did get a chance to guard James on a few plays, one of which is sure to make all of the postgame highlight shows.

With the Knicks down 70-61 in the third quarter, James came down on a fast break following a turnover.

Anthony was the only defender back for the Knicks, so he tackled LeBron.

"He was coming at me full speed. I gotta get the first hit before he delivered a hit," Anthony said. "As long as he was all right, that’s all I care about. I got the foul. I stopped him."

When told that James had an ice pack on his shoulder, Anthony smiled and said, "I did my job then."

Anthony and James have been going head to head since they were in high school. In the NBA, James and Anthony are 12-12 against one another (playoffs included).

"I love to compete against him," Anthony said. "He brings the best out of me. Hopefully, I bring the best out of him and we go from there. It's always a battle."

NYK matches last season’s loss total: The Knicks suffered their 28th loss of the season on Saturday. Last season, they lost 28 games in total.

"Obviously, we didn’t come in expecting to put ourselves in this situation," Tyson Chandler said. "But on the bright end, this is the kind of year where that’s the case for a lot of teams. I feel like it’s still wide open. I looked at the standings today, and I feel like we’ve got a real opportunity to kind of shoot up to that third spot [in the Eastern Conference standings] or so and try to get ourselves in the mix."

The Knicks are a game behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. They are 6.5 games behind the third-place Atlanta Hawks.

No Shump "hurt" Knicks" New York had no answer for Wade on Saturday. The much-maligned shooting guard finished with 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting.

Wade’s offense ignited the Heat in the fourth quarter. The Knicks had cut the lead to four, but Wade made his first three shots of the quarter to keep Miami ahead. New York normally uses Iman Shumpert on Wade, but the third-year guard was unavailable due to a shoulder injury.

"Iman’s a big part of what we do from a defensive standpoint because we can match him up on Wade or LeBron. Not having him tonight, it hurt," Woodson said.

Quick hook for Amar'e: Amar'e Stoudemire returned to the court on Saturday after a seven-game absence due to an ankle injury. But he played just 4:26 against Miami. The Knicks were outscored by five points when Stoudemire was on the floor. Stoudemire was dealing with the flu and an ankle injury during his absence.... <a href="Metta World Peace">Metta World Peace played just 50 seconds. Beno Udrih was healthy enough to suit up but did not play.

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